The Olaplex team has been very busy over the past year. Thanks to the pandemic, more of us are invested in DIY haircare and this has seen the salon-approved brand create a number of at-home products to give us a helping hand. Last summer we were introduced to Olaplex No.0, an intensive pre-shampoo treatment with the ability to repair damaged strands fast, while the Olaplex Shampoo and Conditioner duo also gained popularity among those looking to recreate the salon experience at home. We even spotted a handful of Olaplex dupes, from L'Oréal Elvive's Dream Lengths 8 Second Wonder Water Treatment, £9.99, to The Inkey List's PCA Bond Repair, £12.99. This month, Olaplex has unveiled the hotly anticipated No.8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask, £26, and it's causing a stir among beauty lovers, hairstylists and colourists alike.
What is in the Olaplex No.8 Intense Bond Moisture Mask and how does it work?
Olaplex No.8 works on all hair types, even virgin hair. The star ingredient in all Olaplex products is bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, which the brand says is scientifically proven to add twice as much shine, four times more hydration and six times more smoothness for all hair types after just one go, according to an independent study. It works by repairing damage and relinking hair bonds after they have been broken by things such as bleach or colour, harsh weather, heat styling or general wear and tear. When the hair's bonds are broken, hair often appears split at the ends, frizzy and feels dry or brittle.
The difference between other Olaplex hair products and the new No.8 is that the latter is souped up with a handful of extra ingredients, typically found in skincare but which are shown to have brilliant hair benefits: hyaluronic acid for an extra hit of hydration, ceramides which speed up repair and lock in moisture, and avocado oil, rosehip oil and rice bran oil, all of which nourish dry, brittle strands deeply and provide a glossy finish. Think of it as a more concentrated version of Olaplex No.3.
According to Lavinia Popescu, vice president of research and development at Olaplex, No.8 doesn't contain classical proteins, which can be tricky for some hair types, especially low porosity hair, which typically needs more moisture. This product has been formulated to avoid protein overload so that hair doesn't become dry and break over time. Left on for just 10 minutes, the mask coats and absorbs into damp hair strands while the cuticle (the outside layer) is open, so it works from the inside out. No.8 is also free from sulphates, making it a safe option for coloured hair and those with a sensitive or reactive scalp.
How do you use the Olaplex No.8 Intense Bond Moisture Mask?
Suggested to be used once a week, the mask works best on shampooed, towel-dried hair. The brand's experts suggest applying one to three pumps through mid-lengths to ends, depending on your hair length and thickness. The smart pump allows for just the right amount of product to be applied. The formula isn't at all greasy or heavy; it feels just like a lightweight styling cream with a subtle orange blossom scent. I used a wide-tooth comb to brush the mask through and applied a little to my roots, which sometimes frizz up. Then I wrapped my hair in a hair turban to lock in heat and maximise results.
London-based colourist Samantha Cusick is a huge fan and recommends using the hair mask between salon visits. "You can damage your hair by doing nothing to it," she says. "This works deep inside the hair structure and everybody has these breakable hair bonds, so everybody benefits. Olaplex is for everybody and every hair type and texture, whether that's naturally textured hair, virgin hair, colour-treated hair, straight hair and even hair extensions. Curly and natural textured hair tends to need more moisture in particular, and this mask really delivers."
Does the Olaplex No.8 Intense Bond Moisture Mask work?
Yes, and the before-and-after pictures are proof. In just 10 minutes, the mask breathed new life into my frazzled, split, twice-dyed lockdown hair. After a quick rinse and rough-dry using the ghd Helios, £159, I gasped. My hair felt smooth, soft and so much easier to manage. My hair has one big wave at the back, which often makes it difficult to wear it natural, but my lengths were so glossy and soft, I felt as though I could ditch my straighteners. This is the first hair product that has made me consider ditching the heat, so it's already leagues above the aforementioned dupes.
When I did go to straighten my hair the next day, it took me all of five minutes and my straighteners glided through my hair without snagging. I'm most impressed by how it minimised my broken hairs, frizzy roots and split ends. I'm in desperate need of a trim but, somehow, my hair looks and feels 10 times healthier. While Olaplex No.8 is not a leave-in product, I applied a pea-sized amount to the ends of my hair for extra smoothness and it worked so well, making it a multipurpose all-rounder.
My only complaint is that you have to apply it through towel-dried hair, which means getting out of the shower, waiting 10 minutes for it to work its magic, then jumping back in to rinse it out. For lazy people like me, this is a faff, especially when there are so many brilliant deep conditioners and in-shower hair masks out there. If you'd rather save time, I love Dizziak Deep Conditioner, £22, which uses a handful of oils to nourish parched strands, and BLEACH London Reincarnation Mask, £17, which boasts glycerin to moisturise and strengthen hair. Both products can be used in the shower.
That said, in my honest opinion as a beauty editor, the results of Olaplex No.8 are unrivalled. No wonder it has already racked up five-star reviews. I'll absolutely replace my trusty Olaplex dupes and would suggest stocking up while you can. A product as good as this is bound to sell out soon.
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